Just Do It! How Completing Old Tasks Makes Space for Happiness

October 9th, 2012 by Laura Longley

This summer I cleaned out my basement, something I had been meaning to do for many years. I couldn’t believe how much lighter and freer – and happier – I felt when all that old junk was gone. The next step was to perform the same process on the rest of the house. Unfortunately I didn’t get too far.

I’ve recently been reminded of the value of completion. I took a course during the summer that presented the perspective that completing things is honoring a commitment to myself. That didn’t stir me to action.

Last week I was once again presented with the opportunity to look at the value of completion. The perspective this time was one of freeing up energy that is tied up in those uncompleted items. Energy that can be used for creating what I want in my life. Like more happiness! This resonated with me much more.

Looking around the house and seeing things half done drains my energy. So do the uncompleted tasks that are not visible. They still take up my energy whether I’m consciously thinking about them or not.

Things like following up on the remaining issues with my new website, dealing with an unpleasant situation, or sending in the invoice for a presentation I did two months ago. Yesterday I had a wonderful opportunity to practice completing tasks that were draining my energy and saw immediately how much better I felt.

I had one of those mornings where I awoke already feeling anxious. As I’ve shared before, this is an old pattern for me, but one I’ve mostly broken away from. However yesterday morning I couldn’t seem to shake it. My usual practices of meditation and walking didn’t seem to make a dent in that anxious feeling.

It felt like everything was welling up in me ready to spill over. So I let it. I had a good cry, and as I did it occurred to me that there were a couple of items that had been on my whiteboard to-do list for weeks. They were both things that stirred a lot of anxious energy in me when I thought about them, and I knew that if I just completed what I needed to do and let them go I would feel better.

So I did.

They both entailed writing negative reviews for services where I had spent a lot of money and had not received the full complement of services promised. I had already pursued several avenues to try to get refunded part of my payment, without success. Unless I wanted to go to small claims court, there was nothing more to be done.

I had already decided that I had reached the point where continuing to fight was more draining on me, and kept me focused in a negative perspective, than just conceding the losses and moving on. However, I did want to warn other prospective buyers about the lack of integrity of both of these companies.

So I sat down and finally wrote the reviews. To balance things out for myself energetically, I also wrote three good reviews for companies I genuinely appreciated.

It was amazing what a relief I felt at having completed those tasks, and how happy I felt to erase those items from my whiteboard. I no longer had to look at them multiple times a day and relive the difficult situations that they represented. I could let those situations go and focus my energy on something more deserving of it: feeling happier!

Take an inventory of what’s incomplete in your life. There may be things that have been on your to do list forever, situations you have been avoiding dealing with, or just daily tasks that once you complete release you to think about other things. Make space for more happiness by completing those items, whatever they may be!

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